A little surprise in Canadian politics... and other stuff.
Just when I think that Canada is a bleak field of endlessly boring events, something like this happens to perk my interest.
Like many Canadians, I got duped and depressed by the Liberal leadership race, watching what was being presented constantly in the media as a race between two utterly unprincipled candidates who would have ran against the Harper party by trying to out-Harper Harper. I know enough about Michael "Empire Lite" Ignatieff to know that he would have done that. I don't know whether Rae would have done that, but then Rae really seems to do whatever is expedient for his career. And watching "debates" between the two of them, not to mention the prospect of watching them "debate" Harper, was enough to make me, like many Canadians, act as if all this stuff is boring and irrelevant and pay attention to things going on in other places.
Yesterday I was with a friend of mine who had some "Toronto Star" newspapers in his house from the past few days. All of them presented the frame as "now it comes down to Ignatieff and Rae". In one piece, they showed the numbers as they made that claim - 29% Ignatieff, 20% Rae, 17% Dion, 17% Kennedy. My friend pointed out that such numbers did NOT indicate a 2-way race. I had been fooled by the frame.
I don't actually know very much about Dion - what can I say, I was a dupe and believed I didn't need to look - and so I don't know how different Dion is from Haper/Ignatieff/Rae (you can guess my inclination on this question). But the fact that this thing was being framed as it was framed and it came out the way it came out is a very good thing. It means that the media's chosen winner (Ignatieff) and chosen backup (Rae) didn't win. That can't be bad. Whatever Dion says or does, this result offers the possibility of a bit more political diversity, and might slow Canada's slide towards increasingly overt support for violence and racism. I'm certainly going to spend some time thinking about how big or small the implications.
In other news, my friend Tarek is back in West Asia for a little while and blogging from there. I've heard some reports about the demonstrations in Lebanon, where an interesting situation appears to be developing...